President Trump formally invites Vladimir Putin to Washington despite ongoing Russia investigations

Chris Sommerfeldt

President Trump has formally invited Vladimir Putin to Washington, national security adviser John Bolton announced Friday, paving way for a high-profile sit-down that is sure to spark controversy.

Bolton, who’s traveling through Eastern Europe, confirmed the invitation at a news conference in Tiblisi, the capital of Georgia.

“We have invited President Putin to Washington after the first of the year for basically a full day of consultations,” Bolton told reporters.

Bolton said a date has not been set and it was not immediately known if Putin has accepted the invite. A Kremlin spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Putin and Trump are also expected to meet on the sidelines of an event in Paris next month commemorating the end of World War I.

The outreach to the Russian leader comes even though Trump’s presidential campaign remains under investigation over potential collusion with the Kremlin ahead of the 2016 election.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation has produced scores of indictments against Russian operatives and Trump associates, is expected to deliver key findings after next month’s congressional midterm elections.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is separately investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump faced international backlash after he refused to hold Putin accountable for the Russian government’s meddling in U.S. elections during a joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland in July. Breaking with the unanimous consensus of his own intelligence community, Trump said he found Putin’s denial “incredibly powerful” and claimed he hadn’t seen “any reason” why the Kremlin would have attacked the U.S. election.